Hotel Transylvania: Transformania

Ten years after the first Hotel Transylvania we have a fourth and (for now) final instalment. In terms of animated franchises, I have enjoyed this one. For children it’s an animated adventure with monsters, and for adults it’s a parody of the Universal Monster movies. I absolutely chuckle to the jokes that poke fun at holes in each monster everyone has always taken for granted.

Unlike the previous films, Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is skipping theatres and is available right now on Amazon Prime Video. This must have cost Amazon a lot, considering the last film grossed over $500 million at the box office. As a new parent this was a good move for both parties as parents are more afraid to take their children out into public during the pandemic which ebbs and flows. You won’t see this happen with Minions 2 however, as that first film grossed over $1 billion at the box office and they’re waiting to recreate that once more.

Transformania once again is about Dracula’s coming to terms with moving on. And this time it’s about him retiring and passing on the hotel to his daughter Mavis, and son-in-law Johnny. Dracula being afraid of the hotel turning into a chaotic “surfer dude” paradise reverses his decision and tells Johnny that it simply cannot happen because Johnny is not a monster. Now we come to the Transformania part of the movie where Johnny succeeds in finding a way to turn into a monster. The device for turning into a monster can also turn monsters into humans. Dracula and most of the Transylvania gang find themselves turned into humans. For what was simple to become human, becomes a quest to reverse.

The transforming gimmick was a great way at making some of the retreading plots feel fresh this time around. The anchor of these films has always been Adam Sandler voicing Dracula, yet you wouldn’t know that he was absent from this film, as well as Kevin James. If it was because of contract disputes he was easy to replace as Sandler has always played Dracula with a somewhat parody voice of Dracula, so it never felt original to begin with. Besides everyone has always used that Dracula voice at every costume party.

Overall Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is another solid entry in the franchise. It doesn’t give a satisfactory end to the franchise as a whole, but who is to say another one won’t be made in a few more years. It’s worth the watch with your family on the weekend for the price of an Amazon Prime Video subscription and they even have the older entries on the service too.

Happy watching,

Robert Ring

The Boys

We are spoilt when it comes to superhero films, it’s a genre that keeps on pushing film after film, and each one isn’t that distinguishable from the last. Often there is no social commentary we can linger on, although, maybe Thanos is the exception of late. Good typically is good and bad is bad. The Boys shows us that public perception and reality are not always hand in hand. In The Boys, the world is full of “supes,” a somewhat derogatory shorthand for superheroes. The ones at the forefront are essentially the Justice League; from Superman to the Flash. They are the product of a company that is utilizing their powers to endorse everything from movies to books and more. The company is also trying to rent them into the army. However, the more we learn about these superheroes behind closed doors, the more we see these men and women are morally unhinged. That’s where the boys come in.

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The boys are a team of mismatched personalities working towards exposing the supes because each of them has a vendetta against them. You would think the series would be told more from the point of view of the boys, but it’s equally split between the supes. The biggest star of the series is Karl Urban (Star Trek, Dredd) who plays Billy Butcher, the leader of the boys. Butcher’s story is the throughline of the entire series, and the twists and turns they take are surprising, to say the least. There’s a lot throughout the show that will make you feel surprised, and uncomfortable much like a show on HBO. But the awes and uhs just have you more excited to see where the story goes next.

The Boys is an Amazon exclusive show and a great ballsy choice to their original line-up. The series is based on the comic book series by the same name created by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. The television series has been created by Eric Kripke, who also created Supernatural. I’m actually glad he packed it in after the first five seasons of Supernatural, otherwise, he’d still be on that show as they shoot their FIFTEENTH season. The casting for this show is surprisingly good. I buy each of them living in this very gritty world. Also, the costumes look superb. This show has something very special to it, and I’m excited to see where the show goes in the second season after this excellent first season.

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The Boys is the counter-programming we need from everything superhero! The show is deeper than it should be given the subject matter, and hopefully, it opens us up to more avenues within the superhero genre like Kick-Ass and Watchmen did before it.

Robert Ring

Movies in the Digital Age

I was a serious collector of DVDs from the mid-2000s. I amassed thousands of DVDs. I would buy more than I could watch, and to this day I still own much more than I have seen. The great thing about owning physical copies is the ability to view the title whenever I choose. By doing this I was able to grow my knowledge outside the norm of most. I own and re-watch nearly every television show from the 90s, making it feel as if I spent my teens during that time instead of my 1s and 2s. Then I would have no one to talk about my experiences with these shows because they had no idea what something like Northern Exposure or Twin Peaks is. Streaming has effectively started bringing people that were once like me to the front. I love streaming services for that fact. You get to have all these watercooler moments with people and share in your love for the latest season or movie that hits one of these services.

I rotate between Netflix, Stan, and Amazon. Amazon is the weakest. Stan is perhaps the one I use most, and I think its library of content is similar to Hulu. Netflix is like a made for tv cinema with new attractions debuting every week. Then there are times where I know what I want to watch and spend about twenty minutes looking for it. Alternatively, I search for the title on Just Watch, but usually, I think I remember which streaming service I saw it on, and find myself nearly always wrong. Other times you cannot find it at all. Then I’m forced to search online stores to see if it’s still in print. Even worse is when it’s not available in the country, and you need to order overseas. Look at Say Anything, and it’s one of my favorite movies of all time. You can’t buy it here, and I think you can only stream it on iTunes. I get why some titles are only available on specific streaming services, but why are some just straight out unavailable? Even streaming services only keep content on there for a certain amount of time. And it’s times like that when I’m happy with my collection of physical discs. Overall, it’s not all bad compared to the era of VHS, and at least we all kind of share the same film and television lexicon, while people like me need to help steer others to the stuff, not in the readily accessible content. I like where we are at, for now.

Robert Ring